John 8:36 “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
The website <a href=”reformjudaism.org”> ReformJudaism.org</a> explains why the Seder meal, celebrated this year on March 27 on the evening of Passover, holds such great significance for Jewish families: “The seder meal is done in a certain order which takes us from slavery to freedom. “We are celebrating that we’re not slaves anymore! At the seder, we rejoice, ponder the questions of freedom and service to God, and celebrate being free.”
But there seems to be a disconnect between the Jews’ yearly Passover celebration of freedom and the Jewish clash with Jesus, which led Him to say our verse for this week. Here’s the exchange between them.
“Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him: ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’. They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in slavery to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?
God instituted Passover ever since freeing Israel from Egyptian slavery. So why would they tell Jesus they have never been slaves to anyone? Jesus, ignoring their lie, answers by explaining what true slavery is: ”I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin… Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” Jesus, God’s Passover Lamb (John 1:29), told them this on the eve of that year’s Passover.
He gave this same message the first time He taught in the synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted. To preach freedom to the captives, and the opening of the prisons to those who are bound, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
What Jesus wanted the Jews to understand, and what the Jews do not see in the seder meal, is their celebration of their freedom from Egyptian slavery is a physical illustration of the spiritual truth of freedom from sin’s slavery accomplished by Jesus Christ at the Cross. In this first of two articles on the Passover Seder lamb, we will examine the first 2 of the 4 requirements all Jews must meet that illuminates this truth.
Before God sends His 10th plague on the land of Egypt, He instructs the Jews to hold a special meal within each of their households, which is the key to their true deliverance from Egypt: the Passover Lamb.
“Pick out lambs for yourselves according to your families and kill the Passover lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year… In one house it shall be eaten; do not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones” (Exodus 12:5,46). God puts 2 clear requirements on this Passover lamb: it must be “without blemish”, and when you prepare it for the meal, you must not “break any of its bones”. What is the significance of these first 2 requirements?
We know that God has always required a perfect sacrifice for sin: ”Whatever has a defect you shall not offer; it shall not be accepted on your behalf – it must be perfect to be accepted…” (Leviticus 22:20-21).
We also see, over 700 years later, that the prophecy of God’s Suffering Servant will also be of Someone who is to come who is without sin: “They made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).
Who is this Servant? Peter tells us: “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Peter 1:18-19).
And what is with the lamb’s bones not being broken? In one of his Psalms, King David praises the Lord for His protection over those who trust in Him. In that Psalm, he suddenly gives us another clue to the future Servant: ”He guards all His bones; not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:20).
Who could this be? “When the soldiers came to Jesus on the cross, and they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs” (John 19:33). Two of the Seder requirements for the Passover Lamb, no blemishes, and no broken bones, are not only retold later by prophets but fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Next week, we will finish our study on the Passover Lamb by looking at the last 2 of the 4 requirements: 3) the Lamb’s blood must be applied to the household, 4) and that blood must be on the lintel and doorposts. It is the combination of these four requirements in Jesus Christ that brings true freedom – from sin.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #441